He treks the globe, traveling solo with a 66-pound backpack and scaling mountains to connect with God from behind the camera lens. Chances are you have already ogled over his work, which illuminates the PUC 2010-2011 calendar. If you do not know him already, it is time you met the man behind the lens: PUC junior photography major Grant Ordelheide, landscape photographer extraordinaire.
Quoting John Muir, Grant shares, “I would rather be in the mountains thinking about God than in church thinking about the mountains.”
The story of Grant’s photography began in Colorado, just over two decades ago. At the impressionable age of seven weeks, Grant’s parents took him on his first backpacking trip. Summer hikes, winter skiing and snowshoeing adventures kept Grant busy throughout his childhood. “[When I was] a kid, we’d go all the time and eventually, I was like: Well, I might as well bring a camera and record what we’re doing,” Grant explains. “It turned from that to making better and better pictures.”
Grant became serious about photography in high school. Although he did not study the art formally until college, Grant began to refine his craft on his own—spending hours looking at others’ photos and persevering through trial-and-error shoots. “I [spent] a lot of time in the mountains … and I just kept taking pictures on my own,” Grant says. There were many times when he did not feel satisfied with the composition of his photos. “I’d come back and figure out what I did wrong. [It was] a lot of guessing and testing.”
Grant’s abilities and interests extend beyond landscape photography. He enjoyed portraiture classes this fall and draws additional inspiration from architecture. “You can appreciate a good photo no matter what [the subject] is,” Grant says. Although mountains are his passion, he says, “It’s all pretty fun.”
As much as Grant enjoys the art and process of planning a shot from beginning to end, he sees photography as a byproduct of his passion for nature and spiritual connection. “Spirituality is at the core of my photography … I feel closest to God when I am out in the wild photographing His creations,” Grant enthuses. “I hope to convey these moments of spirituality in my images and hopefully make the viewer stop and think about it too.”
Although he does not claim to have photography mastered “by any stretch of the word,” Grant has this piece of advice for any person interested in pursuing photography: “Just get out there. You don’t get any shots sitting at your computer …There are awesome places all around us, and there’s good light happening all the time. You’ve just gotta be persistent and put the time in. None of these shots come easy.”
View a gallery of Grant's photography.
Copyright © 1996-2013 Pacific Union College | All Rights Reserved.